Pehlwani: Wrestling in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Pehlwani is the modern Indian sport, combining 2500-year-old Hindi wrestling and Persian-style wrestling. A fighter is called a pehlwan, Persian for champion or warrior.

Wrestlers train 4-5 hours, beginning at 5:00 a.m., using techniques adapted from yoga and Western wrestling. To wrestle, pehlwans grease their bodies and wrestle in dust pits. Victory is determined by decision (by a panel of judges), submission, or knockout.

Sawari is one training technique, in which pehlwans use another person's body weight to build mass and agility.


  1. Hi,

    I have been to manu akharas in Banaras.

    Nice post.


  2. Thanks, Munish. I looked up your site. Very interesting. Perhaps some day I can visit there, and experience it all in person. Joe


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